Meet the young British rider everyone’s talking about…

  • There’s more than one Charlotte you need to know about in the dressage world. British rider Charlotte Fry was crowned under-25 European champion in Exloo, the Netherlands, last weekend with 10-year-old gelding Dark Legend, having already led the British team to a historic bronze. We catch up with the 22-year-old to find out more about her life so far…

    1. Dressage is in her blood

    Charlotte, known as Lottie, is the daughter of the late dressage Olympian and European silver medallist Laura Fry, who died in September 2012 after battling breast cancer. Lottie, 22, says that her mother is her greatest inspiration, and the reason she got into the sport.

    2. She moved abroad as a teenager — and it’s paying off

    In 2014, aged 18, Lottie moved from the UK to base herself at the yard of Anne and Gertjan Van Olst in the Netherlands. She’s enjoyed great success over the past four years and says she plans to stay with the Van Olsts for the foreeable future.

    “There are so many good horses for me to ride here, and opportunities not available to me in England, so it would be silly to give it up,” she told H&H. “The main difference over here is the sheer scale of the sport, and the quality of horses is amazing. I’d happily take any of them home.”

    3. It was Carl Hester who suggested she make the big move in the first place

    “I had been training with Carl Hester, and was supposed to go and work for him when he said, ‘I’ve got a much better opportunity for you, with more horses and more riding’. He put me in touch with Anne,” remembers Lottie. “Arriving out there was nerve-racking, but everyone was so nice and welcoming.”

    4. There were some hilarious moments as Lottie adjusted to life in the Netherlands

    “When I first heard the ‘waarschuwingsstelsel’, a test siren they sound in Holland at midday on the first Monday of every month, I was poo picking with my horse in the arena and had no idea what it was,” Lottie told H&H last year.

    “I asked Anne Van Olst and Benjamin (one of the other riders) who were nearby, and they said the Germans were invading and I should run to the radio to hear updates. I hotfooted it across the arena with my horse and the poo picker but when I got to the radio, it was playing music. Confused, as I genuinely thought we were being invaded, I turned to see Anne and Benjamin dissolved into fits of laughter. I’ve never lived it down.”

    5. There’s one thing she really misses about life in the UK

    “I really miss the food in England, especially roast dinners,” says Lottie. “Whenever my dad comes over to visit I get him to bring some Robinsons squash, as squash just doesn’t taste the same here. And Dairy Milk chocolate – that goes without saying.”

    Continued below…

    6. The under-25 title was her second gold medal within a month

    Lottie was crowned world champion in the seven-year-old section at the World Breeding Dressage Championships in early August. She rode the Van Olsts’ exciting young Lord Leatherdale x Negro stallion Glamourdale to a resounding victory.

    7. Glamourdale isn’t the only young horse we should be getting excited about

    Lottie also competed at the World Breeding Championships with two five-year-olds, Iondale and Inclusive. Both are by the Lord Leatherdale stallion Everdale, whom Lottie also competes at international small tour, and she rates them as hugely exciting future prospects.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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